Managing Vim plugins and scripts

Bundle Up

Article from Issue 161/2014

If you use Vim, you'll likely need a tool to manage its hundreds of plugins. Vundle can help.

Vim started as a text editor, but it long ago evolved into an ecosystem of plugins that number in the hundreds. These plugins, in turn, have created the demand for easy ways to manage them. Vundle (Vim Bundles) [1] is one of the most popular managers. The tool works with the GitHub [2] and Vim script [3] sites and uses a combination of editing the vim configuration file .vimrc and running four basic commands within Vim. Vundle bills itself – with only minor exaggeration – as "the Vim package manager."

Vim needs a package manager because plugins are not always easy to manage. The subdirectories to install to are not consistent, and you can only update and delete plugins manually from outside Vim.

Vundle is an enhancement of Pathogen [4], a plugin manager that improves on Vim's default file structure by placing all the files for each plugin in a subdirectory of ~/.vim/bundle, instead of dumping all the help files in ~/.vim/doc and all the plugins in ~/.vim/plugins. This change makes locating the help and the script for each plugin much easier than in default Vim structure. Vundle uses Pathogen's directory structure, while adding automatic updates as well as management utilities that work within Vim.


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